much else about personal computing that has shown promise over the
past ten years, optical character recognition has enjoyed many
false dawns with claims of competence that fall apart rapidly once
outside perfect “demo” conditions, but in the last 12 months
or so, I reckon it’s come of age and is now a perfectly viable
business tool for all occasions.
ABBYY fine reader software that comes bundled with (inter alia)
the HP scanner/printer/fax/teasmade devices gives a glimpse of
what you get if you pay for the full asking price for regular
product. Like Fine Reader Professional. When I cast my mind back
to some of the early OCR experiences (who here remembers the
Omnireader?) it’s obvious that the OCR art has matured.
new feature I particularly like is the ability to read and OCR PDF
files – which appeals to my perverse sense of naughtiness when
proving (again) to those dinosaur “media owners” who still kid
themselves that they can attempt to preserve any copyright of
anything that gets digitised, ever. The interface to MS Word is
also very reliable – the layout isn’t perfect, but it’s
getting there, and there will be precious few cases where it will
be quicker to re-type than OCR anything.
I’m additionally obliged to Abbyy for providing the leading
contender for the silly name of the month award, with European CEO
Jupp Stopetie; guaranteed to get red lined by any spell checker.
It’s a good job they don’t use names in Countdown
fast and it’s accurate – your mileage may vary, but I have yet
to see anything better at any price, so read all about it at www.abbyy.com
where a try/buy edition can be downloaded.